tv CNN Special Report CNN February 17, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
toilets not remembering when we just held it on the ridiculist. that does it for us. thank you for watching. see you for another "360." witnessed: the assassination of malcolm x starts now. few were nor admired or hated than malcolm x. never afraid to challenge the white establishment about the cruelty and injustice black americans faced. to many more, his efforts to end it opened more wounds than they healed. and no one was more aware than the man himself. in 1965, after a public split with the nation of islam, he was being closely watched by the fbi and cia, and he said many times he knew his life would soon be over. but neither his fate nor role in history was preordained.
his story isn't just about how it ended, but who he was and why he was killed. >> i don't worry. i have no fear whatsoever of anybody or anything. >> i feel as though he knew his life was in extreme danger. >> malcolm is tired. physically exhausted. he's been on the road, he has spent a lot of time trying to hold fast to his closest supporters and loyalists to get them to go along with him on this journey of his evolving ideas on religion, on race, on revolution, on self-determination. his family is under siege. there are these skirmishes between his followers and various people from the nation
of islam. >> there are these articles being written in the newspaper of the muhammad speaks condemning him as a traitor, suggesting that he is worthy of death for his betrayal and he would be met with death if not for the mercy of elijah muhammad. >> we were well aware that his life was in danger. >> the media made malcolm this fiery, angry person, when in actuality he was reacting to all of the injustice around him, because he was a man of great compassion, of love. someone who was clearly brilliant, clearly dedicated, impeccable integrity. and who was in a rush because he knew he was going to be killed. >> he said, you know, i'm
probably a dead man already. he felt and saw his mortality. he felt like these days ahead of him were going to be cut short. >> is your life in danger from the muslims and elijah muhammad's group? >> elijah muhammad has given the order to his followers to see that i am crippled or killed. >> he has given out this hearsay information that he's branded for death. i'm certain if he was branded for death, he would have gotten death a long time ago instead of having time to run around and talk about it. we know he's guilty of things. so his fight against the messenger is a fight against the god that sent the messenger. >> the night of february 13th, malcolm in his home in queens, with his wife and four children, was awakened by an explosion. someone had thrown a molotov
cocktail into the windows. >> what really irritated him is that things had descended to the level where somebody was firebombing a house with innocent sleeping children in it. >> if anyone can find my house, they can put a bull et through my head. >> he scheduled a rally for february 21 in 1965. >> for the first time, to me he looked a little down. and i don't ever remember seeing him down before, even in the most dire circumstances. [ gunshots ] >> can you describe what happened here today? >> at about 3:15 p.m. this afternoon, there were about 400 persons present in the ballroom here, representing an
organization known as the afro american unity organization headed up by malcolm x. and malcolm was addressing the audience from the speaker's platform. >> he raised his hand in the muslim greeting like this. at that point, a rumbling broke out behind us. >> i heard somebody shout "kill him!" >> apparently, two men approached the speakers and discharged shots at him from apparently very close range. >> as i turned around quickly, the next thing i saw was malcolm falling back in a dead faint. >> my mother threw herself over her babies, and she yelled out, they're killing my husband. >> i heard shots, and i saw people crawling on the floor.
i saw -- so i got down, too. then when i was looking out, i saw someone look up to the front. i knew they had shot my husband. >> sustained one shot in the lower right chin and the other six hit him in the chest and body. >> i looked down at him and i said, he's going to die. i kept saying to myself, he's going to die. >> how many? >> no, he wasn't dead immediately, but expired very shortly thereafter. >> malcolm is dead. this is -- this is nearly as bad as when they assassinate the president of the united states. >> the assassination of malcolm x was an unfortunate tragedy. it reveals that there are still
numerous people in our nation who have degenerated to the point of expressing dissent for murder and we haven't learned to disagree without violence. >> he gave a bunch of boys an opportunity to be men. >> that summer of 1964, j. edgar hoover sent a memo to his new york office that explicitly stated "do something about malcolm x." we don't know what he meant by that. ts we all buy are transported on container ships. before a truck delivers it to your store, a container ship delivered it to that truck. here in san diego, we're building the first one ever to run on natural gas. ships this big, running this clean, will be much better for the environment. we're proud to be a part of that.
find a negro, doesn't know the truth. find a negro lying and cheating, he doesn't know the truth. usually imitating the white man. negro get drunk because he sees white people drinking. >> he's the fastest i've met in my life. >> commit fornication and adultery, all they see on tv is a white man committing fornication and adultery. they want to be like the white man, so they copy his immoral social habits. >> malcolm little was born into a family of activists. his parents, earl and louise
were active followers of the negro improvement organization, which drew on black nationalism, promoting black pride. >> marcus garby said, the world has made being black a crime. i intend to make it a virtue. that the world has said black history is a curse. that black freedom is a pipe dream, that black hope is a joke. >> father, hopper earl, was a young garveyite. a minister. it was during the jim crowe era and learning to be self-reliant, independent. to stand up against injustice. it was during a time when lynchings were prevalent, to say the least. and so my grandfather was
assassinated also tied to the trolley tracks. >> malcolm's mother, louise, was unable to keep the family together. so she had a breakdown. social services came and split the family up. they sent malcolm and his siblings to various foster homes. malcolm went to a white foster home and attended a predominantly white el my try -- elementary and secondary school. he was popular in school. he had charisma, even as a child. his classmates voted for him to be class president. >> most often, he was the only person of color in his school. and when he was i think about 12 years old, he did tell his favorite teacher, mr. astrowski, that he wanted to be a lawyer. his teacher said negros can't be lawyers. he should be a carpenter, use his hands. >> malcolm kind of lost interest
in school. his half sister in boston tried to get him to visit her so she could kind of get him on track. so malcolm went to visit ela in boston and was completely taken by urban culture and was attracted to the hep cat movement, and jazz, and the dancing, and the clothes and the fashion. and he gradually adopted this persona that became known as detroit rep. malcolm drifted further away from the garvey roots of his family into, you know, petty crime. ♪ >> he was a gangster, he was a hustler. so those early years did expose him to some of the darker precincts of the black
condition. >> malcolm hatched a plan to engage in a series of breaking and enterings. malcolm made the error of taking some of the merchandise to a pawnshop. when he went back to retrieve the watch, it was a watch, the police were there to arrest him. while malcolm is in prison, his family intervenes. his family had not given up on him. his brother began preaching to him, and i think preached really stridently to malcolm. we have found these teachings of islam. they remind us of what our parents taught us in terms of black people need to do for ourself, support our own institutions, need to be morally upright. >> elijah muhammad almost became like a surrogate father to him. and he truly believed in the
work that elijah muhammad was doing. it was very similar to the work his father was doing. >> i thank allah for you. you're always willing to go anywhere that i go. [ applause ] >> i was in prison. i was a very wayward criminal, backward, illiterate, uneducated type of person, until i heard the teachings of the honorable elijah muhammad. because of the impact that it had on me and giving me a desire to rehabilitate myself for the first time in my life and be able to see the effect' it had n others this is what made me accepted. >> it transformed him into malcolm x, the greatest truth teller of the black condition that we've known in the 20th
century. >> prior to hearing what he teaches, i had no interest in anything serious or any educational pursuits. >> when he came out of prison in 1952, he, you know, met elijah muhammad and he invited him to stay with him. so malcolm studied with him for a period of time. there was something about malcolm. some people have this magnetism that when they walk into a room everyone focuses on them. >> he knew how to talk to people. he could speak in a way that made things very clear. >> it was easy to believe what he was saying. >> america was in the middle of the so-called civil rights movement. >> if you're going to talk about him, you have to understand that very clearly. >> there were people being
literally murdered, hung from trees. >> in the southern states of this country, there was terrorism going on. >> shot, arrested. >> that's the only way you can describe it, terrorism. people were being killed, bombed out of their homes. >> having dogs sicked on them. >> if a dog is biting a black man, the black man should kill the dog. when that black man is doing nothing but trying to make advantage of what the government says, that black map should kill that dog or any two-legged dog that sicks the dog on him. >> malcolm x did something that was very rare. >> every mention of the word integration by whites -- >> he viewed white fears and insecurities and anxieties as an afterthought. >> whether it be from the mouth of kennedy -- >> most black leaders have to
deal with white fears, anxieties and insecurities to get about. >> -- on down to the mouth of the lowest white liberal in the street. >> malcolm viewed it as terciuray. >> we believe that separation is the best way and the only sensible way, not integration. >> that pits him radically against the main stream and white america. >> malcolm could speak in a way that resonated with people. >> there's nothing the white man will ever do to bring about true, sincere citizenship or civil rights recognition for black people in this country. nothing will they ever do. they will always talk it, but they won't practice it. why do we do it? why do we spend every waking moment, thinking about people? why are we so committed to keeping you connected? why combine performance with a conscience?
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somewhat is your real name is >> malcolm. malcolm x. >> is that your legal name? >> as far as i'm concerned it's my legal name. >> have you been to court to establish -- >> i didn't have to go to court to be called murphy or jones or smith. >> they're taking to sports i reenas and platforms across the
united states to preach a gospel of hate that would set off a federal investigation if it were preached by southern whites. >> i referred to the popular belief that the muslims preach a hatred for the white race. you do not subscribe to that? >> no, i've never heard elijah muhammad preach against anyone. he preaches against evil. >> malcolm was a lightning rod. because he was articulating and giving voice to an alternative political strategy. >> we are for separation, not segregation. >> for many white people, there's something what they call an upetty black man. >> segregation, as we're taught by the honorable elijah muhammad, is that which is forced upon inferiors by superiors. >> to them, he was an upetty
black man. >> separation is done voluntarily by two equals. >> he was talking about how when we knew the history of the world was incorrect. >> who taught you to hate the color of your skin, who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? who taught you to hate your own kind? who taught you to hate the race that you belong to? >> i began to follow him. i began to listen, i began to read books he said. i began to understand and believe in, and he gave me a perception on how to view this country. >> it seemed to me you've been preaching hate to meet hate.
>> i don't advocate any kind of hate. >> he absolutely believed in the nation of islam. he thought that was one organization that would help to get black people back on their feet. >> brothers and sisters. >> some of the negroes are going to wake up and do unto whites as the whites have done against us. >> it puts him against the main stream in black america. that's why he had so much trouble with the black leaders. >> martin luther king teaches negroes to love white people no matter what they do to you. >> when he looks at america, he looks at the record. whereas most of the white main stream and black main street leadership look at america full of promise and possibility. malcolm x is the opposite. king is talking about a dream in '63, malcolm is talking about a nightmare. it means no matter what the negro does, he's not going to
get along with whites. so i think mr. muhammad's whole philosophy is more intelligent than mr. king's. >> he was not someone that would hold his tongue in criticizing the preacher class, the black religious leadership. >> today's gathering is the largest in washington's history. >> he was very critical of established black leaders. >> in the van is martin luther king. >> and of their strategies. so many people shied away from him because of that. ♪ we shall overcome >> malcolm was very critical and dismissive at the time when people were somewhat celebratory at the success of the march on washington. >> later, mr. king and the other leaders are to go to the white house where the president said everyone must be impressed with the confidence in our democratic form of government. >> malcolm came as an observer,
and he called it the farce on washington, an event that had been co-opted by the government, that had been co-opted by labor. that leaders of the civil rights movement had been essentially bought off. >> i think the support reflects the desire on the part of our people in this country to try a new analysis, a new method, a new approach to get a solution now, to the ten years from now. >> but martin's response to malcolm was very much like many of our responses, which was here is somebody who is saying in public what black people often said in private, just how ugly and how vicious and how barbaric the treatment of black people had been. >> we're taught when anyone inflicts or seeks to inflict violence upon us, we are within our religious rights to
retaliate in self-defense to the maximum degree of our ability. >> as malcolm became popular -- >> these are parrots that have been put in front of the negro community. >> in a public outside of the nation of islam, this increased tensions. >> by any means necessary. >> inside the nation of islam. people began identifying him as the leader or as the heir apparent. this was threatening to a full range of people in the nation of islam, who maybe wanted to be the heir apparent. theological space was widening between malcolm and elijah. malcolm, wherever he spoke, muslims would come up and say, this is not islam. what you're teaching is not islam. islam does not see race, islam is color blind. the way you view elijah muhammad is a prophetic figure is counter
to islam. >> in the name of allah. >> and then another piece of this, of course, was malcolm finding out about elijah muhammad's domestic life. >> love us alone if you don't like us. >> when malcolm found out that elijah muhammad had fathered these children outside of his marriage to clara, many of these women were women who had worked for elijah muhammad in some capacity as a secretary or other way. >> malcolm did have a blind faith in the honorable elijah muhammad, who rescued him from the muck and from the mud and that blind faith was shattered, and he went into emotional shock. >> this was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak, in terms of malcolm's faith in elijah muhammad as a model, as a
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>> something is terribly wrong. >> john f. kennedy was assassinated. >> the first unconformed reports say the president was hit in the head. >> from dallas, texas, the flash, president kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. central standard time. >> as malcolm felt himself growing estranged from elijah muhammad and from the nation of islam, malcolm and the muslims in new york had planned a major event. >> the president's body is met by a cordon of servicemen. >> elijah muhammad was scheduled to speak. after kennedy's assassination, elijah was like no, i'm not doing any public speaking, and the ministers in the nation of islam war instructed to not
comment on kennedy's assassination. malcolm gave the speech. he did not comment on the assassination. >> you see, it was very clear that elijah muhammad always wanted to steer clear of any confrontation. >> when malcolm opened up to question and answer, the reporter asked him somewhat his thoughts were on kennedy's assassination. and malcolm gave this really thoughtful response about violence. >> he said, when you have a climate of hate, you're going get back hate. so if we're putting out so much hate and teaching our children and nation to hate, then you're going to get all of that back. >> he said this is a case of chickens coming home to roost. >> he was speaking for himself and not muslims in general. and malcolm has been suspended from public speaking for the
time being. >> when he attacked them in the form of you've got violence in your history that's now come visited back on your young darling, john f. kennedy, that was the worst thing that he could have said from elijah's point of view. >> while this was happening, ka shaus clay was training for his fight. clay had been exposed to the nation of islam. he invited malcolm to come to miami for a vacation. he knew malcolm was on this board of silence. he said, bring your family. >> my father was his mentor, his spiritual guide. >> clay wins the fight. >> i've been in silence for the past 90 days because of some statements i made about the president of the united states,
which were distorted. >> what did you say, malcolm? >> his assassination was a result of the climate of hate, only i said the chickens came home to roost. >> you did not say the glad the president was killed. >> no, that's what the president said. >> a couple of days later was the nation of islam's national convention. malcolm thought he would be allowed to come to savior's day and speak and this would be the period of reconciliation. i have cassius clay, he just won the heavyweight championship. cassius clay is invited to savi savior's day where he's given a prominent place in the program. >> this is a golden muslim mosque that was presented to me by the islamic council. [ applause ] >> malcolm wasn't invited or asked to speak.
he pretty much feels shut out. >> he would say over and over again, any religion that does not allow men to be empowered, to speak and work on behalf of black people, i'll let that religion go. >> and basically said, i'm about to leave the nation of islam. >> this, of course, was met with great anger and resentment by many in the nation of islam. >> muslims have ex-communicated malcolm x and we are done with him. unless he wants to come back into line with the teachings and moral principles and teachings of elijah muhammad. >> when he was out, i knew something was wrong. so i called him up the next day and he came over and we spent the day talking. we knew they wouldn't let him back. we said, we have to set up an organization to do what we can
for black folks. >> while all this is happening, malcolm is in need of a resentering of himself, spiritually, politically, and he decided to make the pilgrimage to mecca. >> he had seen it before. there was something about it before where he was seeing the same thing, just seeing it through different eyes. he had already seen black and white people come together. he just was still tied to a blind faith in elijah. so he didn't allow it to penetrate his soul. >> he realized how much of islam he didn't know ritually. >> the actual experience of the ritual was overwhelming, and transformative. >> since i went to mecca and reported that the religion of islam is a religion of brotherhood, which includes all man kind, it caused a great deal of wrath in the heart and mind of elijah muhammad, who has been
teaching that the white race is a race of devils. >> the tensions at homes are amping up with the nation of islam, in part because of some of malcolm's words, right? and the attention he's receiving from law enforcement, from the fbi, domestically, from the cia internationally. it's also increasing. >> but he also knows that the nation of islam was very upset with him. >> why are they threatening your life? >> well, primarily because they're afraid that i will tell the real reason that they've been -- that i'm out of the black muslim movement, which i've never told, i kept to myself. but the real reason is that elijah muhammad, the head of the movement, is the father of eight children by six different teenage girls, six different teenage girls who were his private personal secretaries. most of the products we all buy
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the objective of that organization is to bring about a condition that will guaranty respect and recognition of the 22 million black americans as human beings. >> how if >> by any means necessary. >> it was incredibly high pressure time for malcolm. as malcolm's mind was expanding, as his world view was expanding, the space that he was occupying was shrinking. >> valentine's day, a molotov cocktail is thrown into the nursery of our home, my parent's home, where my father's four babies slept and my mother, of course, was pregnant with the twins. >> i became frightened for him and his family, because this was the first time that i could recall that there was a direct attack, not only on him, but his family. >> if you attack me, that's one thing.
i know what to do when you attack me. but when you attack sleeping babies, you're lower than -- >> that's actually where that picture of my father with the rifle came from. he couldn't get protection, and he said, if i can't get anyone to protect me as a citizen, that i have a rifle, and i will protect my family. >> it was a stressful time for him, and he still decided to press on. so he scheduled a rally for february 21st, 1965. he was going to give the formal unfolding of the oaau platform and plan of action. >> when he arrived, he parked his car about two blocks away. didn't let us know he was arriving, and he walked up broadway, he made himself a perfect target and he knew better. >> he saw me, he said brother peter, when you get a chance,
come backstage i want to talk to you. >> i was checking my equipment. i set up the microphones up and all that. i came back in, he said he wanted me to go and make a phone call. >> he said, do any of you know what the reverend looks like? i said i do. he said when you see him, bring him backstage. i said okay. >> he insisted i go make this telephone call. and i'm like, i have to get the stuff set up. he looked at me and he said, i want you to go and make the phone call. >> i sat in the front row. i think i was third from the aisle. >> he insisted i get out of
there, completely out of the building where the telephone booth was. while i was in the booth, he steps out there. >> i heard brother malcolm say -- >> somebody shouted, get your hand out of my pocket, very loud. then a little bit of a tussle, and malcolm responded by holding a hand up, something like, hold on, hold on there, brothers. >> while i was in the telephone booth, i heard the shots. >> i ran into the ballroom, and people were running out by this time and they were screaming and crying and cursing. >> my mother put her body on top of us. she covered her babies, because there was all this shooting. >> i don't know how many shooters are in there. i mean, this is while the smell of gun smoke is still in the air i'm crawling to a phone. my mind is focused on doing my job. >> i'm in the ballroom.
pandemonium is the only word i can use to describe the scene here. i was sitting in the first row when malcolm came on the stage and greeted the audience with a traditional muslim greeting. as soon as he said that, several persons stood up and fired shots. >> you could see malcolm up on the stage, so i ran down to the left hand side of the building on stage. i still had my camera with me and i kept right on shooting pictures. >> someone hoped his shirt and i saw all these bullet holes in his body and i remember thinking, he's going to die, because he was gasping. >> i wish it had never happened. it was the saddest moment of my life.
cause we failed him. >> i started talking to everybody i could to have them reiterate from their perspective what had just happened and what they thought about it. >> i heard the shots. i ran forward. i saw malcolm hold his side and stomach and fell down. >> how do you feel now is >> i want to kill somebody. that's right. i want to kill somebody. if malcolm dies, somebody is going to die. >> i heard noise, and then the two fellows, one was a black muslim, i don't know who the other one was, ran and started shooting. everybody fell to the floor. >> they were black muslims? >> yes, sir. i recognized them. >> had he not sent me out, i would have been standing by the tape recorder with my back to
the audience. when they started shooting, i would have been shot in the back. >> then the brothers had gone and got a stretcher from the hospital that was right across the street. they just took a stretcher, they put him on the stretcher and rolled it back out over to the hospital. >> the only person that was caught at the scene was thomas hair. >> i believe if he had not been shot in the leg and had not been beaten up by those who loved my father, that he would not have ever been arrested. that he would have gone free just like the rest of them. >> the evidence points to the fact that hair was the only person convicted for malcolm x's assassination that had a part in it. in the nation, we know how it feels when you aren't treated like a priority. we do things differently. we'll take care of it. we put members first. join the nation. thank you. ♪ nationwide is on your side
works! works? works. works. malcolm is the victim of his own preaching. he preached violence and so he became the victim of it. >> norman butler and johnson hayer initially identified hem as co-conspirators. he would later recant his testimony. they weren't an he believeded at the scene. that's no physical evidence that connected them to the
assassination. it was all circumstantial. no one remembered seeing them there. >> clearly he posed a threat to the government. he posed a threat to the nation of islam. he posed -- you know, it's just all so unfortunate. >> you do not personally feel that any member of the brotherhood of islam committed this crime? >> no, no. we don't do a thing like that. >> that summer of 1964. j. edgar hoover sent a memo that said "do something about malcolm x." we don't know what he meant about that. there are thousands of pages of classified fbi files that have yet to be revealed for us to know. >> there's no doubt that the after life of malcolm x has had more impact than his life.
people began to see the truths he told. the love he displayed. the courage he exemplified. the visions for the oneness of humanity that he was after. >> he was a black man who had thoroughly studied the system that exists in this country, who understood it very clearly, and who was developing a cohesive plan to deal with it. >> there will come a time when black people wake up and become intellectually independent enough to think for themselves. >> his voice predicted the urban rebellions in watts and throughout the nation in 1968. his voice predicted the growing frustrations that african-americans would feel as the civil rights progress is slowed to a halt.
he predicted the ongoing troubles with police brutality, the growing frustration of black youth who had almost given up. >> malcolm was a young man, just in his 20s, and he was killed at 39. you know, this man made a significant impact all around the world. in just 12 short years. >> we knew we could trust him. no matter what happened, he wouldn't abandon us. we came together, we're all going to go out together.
isis militants stage a major assault, not far from the kurdish capital. >> and new details about what may have triggered the copenhagen shooting. and responding to allegations of sexist practices. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm zain asher. >> and i'm john vause. this is cnn newsroom. great to have you with us. continues to grow. the terrorist group has staged a major attack in iraq's kurdish controlled region. close quarter fighting took